[MARMAM] New publication; Living apart together: Niche partitioning among Alboran Sea cetaceans

Joan Giménez Verdugo gimenez.verdugo at gmail.com
Tue Aug 14 03:11:11 PDT 2018

Dear colleagues,

I thought you might be interested in our recently published article in
Ecological Indicators.

Giménez, J., Cañadas, A., Ramírez, F., Afán, I., García-Tiscar, S.,
Fernández-Maldonado, C., Castillo, J.J. & de Stephanis, R. (2018). Living
apart together: Niche partitioning among Alboran Sea cetaceans. *Ecological
Indicators*, *95*, 32-40.


Co-occurring species are expected to distribute themselves unevenly
throughout ecological niche dimensions to avoid competitive exclusion.
However, few studies have previously investigated spatial and trophic
factors structuring an entire cetaceancommunity. Here, we combined density
surface models (DSMs) with two dimension (*δ*15N and *δ*13C) isotopic niche
spaces in order to identify the mechanistic processes underlying niche
partitioning for the most abundant cetacean species inhabiting the Alboran
Sea: the long-finned pilot whale (*Globicephala melas*), the Cuvier’s
beaked whale (*Ziphius cavirostris*), the Risso’s dolphin (*Grampus griseus*),
the bottlenose dolphin (*Tursi ops truncatus*), the striped dolphin (
*Stenella* coeruleoalba), and the short-beaked common dolphin (*Delphinus
delphis*). DSMs provide a spatially-explicit assessment of species
distribution through key spatial and environmental gradients, whereas
isotopic niches characterize habitat and resource use. Our isotopic niche
approach pointed to habitat and/or trophic segregation between the small
(striped and short-beaked common dolphins) and large-sized cetacean species
(Risso’s and bottlenose dolphins, and long-finned pilot whales).
Conversely, DSMs suggested a larger degree of spatial segregation among
species by depth, with some overlap for offshore species (long-finned
pilot, Cuvier’s beaked whales and Risso’s dolphins) and also between
bottlenose and common dolphins. Thus, both components of the ecological
niche apparently played an important role in explaining niche partitioning
among species, which, in turn, might explain the high abundance and
diversity of cetaceans in the Alboran Sea. Further, when both methodologies
were applied in isolation, the structure and functioning of this cetacean
community was poorly resolved. The combination of both approaches is
therefore desirable when investigating niche partitioning among
ecologically similar species within communities.

Direct publication link:

Research Gate link:

Best wishes,


*Joan Giménez, PhD*
Estación Biológica de Doñana (EBD-CSIC)
Department of Conservation Biology
Americo Vespucio Ave, s/n
41092 Sevilla (Spain)
Personal website: http://gimenezverdugo.wixsite.com/joangimenez
Research Gate: Joan Giménez
Phone: +34 619 176 849
ü Please consider the environment before printing this E-mail
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